PUBLISHER’S COLUMN JUNE 2017 EDITION HOUSTON
Chairman John Cruise President/Executive Publisher Steve Levine Vice President/Publisher/ Creative Director/Editor Barbara Davis-Levine Chief Financial Officer Ervin Hughes Publisher’s Assistant Jerome Davis Graphic Designer Genera Media Photographers Gwen Juarez Contributing Writers Tom Andrulis Sonia Clayton Nick Darlington Archie Elliott Barbara Davis Ruben Gonzalez
Hank Moore Christi Ruiz Rita Santamaria Jonathan Sprinkles Gail Stolzenburg
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WHAT IS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
fter Googling the word “entrepreneur”, the definition that I found was, “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.”
As I have previously shared with you, I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My family (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) all owned their own businesses. They were small businesses in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. I learned much from watching my parents handle customers and vendors. They worked six days a week and had little time for each other. Their time became even more of a challenge when they managed different stores. Mom was in the Nyack, New York store and dad was most often in the Pearl River, New York store. I would split my time between the two when I was growing up. My parents did not motivate me to pursue my own business, but, they did encourage me to attend college so I could use that college education to pursue a “career” with a company “that would take care of me until I retired”. Please remember that was the way it was for us postwar Baby Boomers.
I really did not “work for myself ” until I became a licensed (Florida) real estate agent. Sure, we had a broker for guidance and administrative staff for support, but everything was paid for by the broker, 50% of what we earned in commissions. All marketing tools, signage, advertising, and the cost of “MLS Books” (remember those?) were at our own expense. I came to the realization then, and it is still true today, that the Realtor® is the “Ultimate Entrepreneur”! Once they pass the real estate license exam, they are in business. Most are underfunded, have no brick and mortar office of their own, and must build their business and reputation from scratch at their own expense, one client at a time. It is truly a “do or die” business. Consider, too, that there are hundreds or sometimes thousands of competitors in each market. In Houston alone, we have over 38,000 licensed real estate agents! Having published Real Estate Executive and Premier Agent Magazines, I am proud to have so many of Houston’s top real estate agents as my readers, clients, and friends. They work hard and they work weekends, holidays, and you name it to earn a living. In this issue, we shine the spotlight on Jami and Julius Bertrand, owners of Elite Real Estate Services. Not only are they hard-working, successful agents, they have taken their business to a whole new level. I know you will enjoy their story! It’s time to let you get started reading this very special issue!
President/Executive Publisher, Small Business Today Magazine
INSIDE MARCH-APRIL 2017 EDITION HOUSTON
03 12 14
ON THE COVER JAMI & JULIUS BERTRANDELITE REAL ESTATE SERVICES
Publisher’s Column Put Joy First Pave and Refine the Company Way, Corporate Culture.
The Entrepreneurial Benefits of The 21ST Century
Keeping Data Safe: 4 Reasons Why Small Businesses Are Converting to the Cloud
Victory Isn’t for Everyone 22 Networking & Artificial Intelligence Part 1 Take Advantage of Opportunities 23 Giving Business Referrals
When You Need to Make a Sale, Do This…
INSIDE BACK COVER WBEA Women’s Business Enterprise alliance
Financial Astrology June 2017
Jami and Julius
Bertrand Elite Real Estate Services
Building Success from a Dream, Careful Planning, and Hard Work
BY NICK DARLINGTON
n 2007, Jami Bertrand was living in California and in desperate need of change. With only a $15 duffle bag and a few changes of clothes, she took a leap of faith and moved to Houston, in search of a better life. She soon developed a passion for real estate and dreamt of one day owning her own brokerage. A chance meeting with Julius Bertrand seemed unimportant, but, after reconnecting at an open house, both their lives changed forever. Little did they know that day marked the start of a relationship that would lead to marriage, three beautiful children, and a fruitful entrepreneurial journey together. The couple are the perfect complement for each other. Jami’s strength is her power to dream, which she learned from her mom, and Julius has impressive planning and analytical skills, instilled in him by his dad. Their powerful mix of big dreams and careful planning, combined with a mutual understanding that hard work pays off, was instrumental in overcoming many challenges en route to building their successful company, Elite Real Estate Services.
Jami and Julius are terrific partners in life and in business! Photo by Gwen Juarez 06 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
Growing up in Missouri City, Julius’s dad was a strong influence who helped him develop his analytical mind. “He picks everything apart,” says Julius, the oldest of three brothers. “He likes to think of things ordinary people wouldn’t think of.” After high school, Julius went to University of Houston for a
year on a computer science scholarship. Young and wanting to pursue different avenues, he left his scholarship and started working full-time at McDonald’s. He quickly became a manager before leaving to work for CenterPoint Energy as a meter reader and, later, a lineman apprentice working on power lines. Jami grew up almost 2,000 miles away in Oakland, California, with a single mom and a sister who is eight years younger. Though her mom is sadly not with her anymore, she instilled in Jami the spirit to dream. In the tenth grade, Jami’s mom quit her job as a nurse to write books for a living. “That was what she wanted to do,” Jami recalls. “She wrote several books and spent most of her life trying to get them published. She always had big goals and big dreams. She always wanted more and did more”. By age eight, Jami wanted to be an astronaut. But in the same way Julius’s analytical mind pushed him to try new things, Jami’s powerful dreams led her down other paths. In 1999, Jami attended the California State University Maritime Academy and studied mechanical engineering and technology. Soon she realized that she wasn’t sufficiently disciplined, so in 2001, not only did Jami transfer to California State University Sacramento, she also changed her major which led her to getting a degree in Communications in 2004. . Despite the distance, Jami used to visit family in Killeen, Texas. She made friends who were from Houston but had family in Killeen. One year, she decided to visit them in Houston. Not only did she fall in love with the area, she decided to move there as well. Her love for Houston, combined with the realization that she wasn’t happy in California, led her to take a leap of faith. “I moved here with literally nothing… an orange and black duffle bag I bought for $14.99 from Target, three
Meet the Bertrand Family. Julius is holding twins Carter and Kennedy and Jami is holding daughter Raegan. Photo by Gwen Juarez
pair of shoes, four bottoms, and six tops,” Jami recalls. “California life just was not working out for me. I desperately needed change, so I left everything! Sometimes, you have to pay attention to the signs and be obedient. I believe God doesn’t say, ‘No.’ He either says, ‘Not right now,’ or, ‘I have something better for you.’ In this case, he said, ‘I have something better for you.’ My life hasn’t been the same since.” The move to Houston meant meeting Julius for the first time (though they would go their separate ways) but also marked the start of Jami’s dream of owning her own brokerage. She met a Realtor® who leased a home to her in Katy. “I would just talk to him all the time. I always saw him in beach shorts. I have a banking background and he would just be comfortable every time I saw him. I made a joke, ‘I need your job,’ and he said, ‘Well, you can do it.’ He gave me some information and encouraged me to pursue real estate.” After taking classes at Champions School of Real Estate, Jami got her real estate license and joined Keller Williams Realty where they trained and mentored her. She worked hard in real estate and eventually got her broker’s license. But even in her wildest dreams, she would
never have suspected that a Facebook post would change her life forever. When Julius saw Jami’s post, inviting potential clients to an open house, Julius noticed that she was in the area and it sparked a desire to see her again. “One day, I happened to be on Facebook and saw that Jami was nearby,” recalled Julius. “I thought, ‘Okay, let me send her a message and see if I can stop by.’ She blew me off, saying, ‘Well, are you buying a house?’ I said, ‘No!’ Then she asked, ‘Are you looking to sell a house?’ Again, I replied, ‘No!’ Finally, she said, ‘Well, you don’t need to come to my open house!’ She did end up giving in, though; look where it ended.” The open house allowed them to reconnect, this time for good. As their relationship grew, Julius joined Jami as a partner in the brokerage. It was a meeting of minds that would power the couple to entrepreneurial success. After leaving Keller Williams, Jami joined Gary Greene Realtors®. It was during her time there that she and Julius began doing real estate investments and flipping houses. Though Jami had built up strong resources, connections, and relationships, she had dreams that were yet to crystallize: “We were restricted on what [ JUNE 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 07
COVER STORY Jami and Julius are indeed proud to work with such a great team of agents! They are ( from left to right) Lomil Truitt, Tamon Williams, Roxy McDonald, Julius, Jami, Shauna Al Badri, and Michael B. Graham II. Photo by Gwen Juarez
we could do,” she says. “I needed more room to move around and focus on areas that we wanted to build.” Flipping under someone else’s license also meant that there was a larger commission split. Combined with her strong desire to become a leader and clear vision for the future, Jami had the driving force to stay focused on her dream of owning her own brokerage. Jami elaborated, “I wanted to build something that was modern and millennial-focused. I wanted to bring a fresh perspective to real estate and attract millennials. Because technology and the face of everything is changing right before our eyes, I decided to do something that was geared more towards my age group.” Jami and Julius started building their success together. They were a powerful combination, with Jami’s strength in her power to dream and Julius’s impressive planning skills. Combined with the hard work they both believe in, it was a powerful formula for success. Julius and Jami started flipping houses under an LLC they established together, Manning Bertrand Real Estate Investments. Focusing on repairing properties and selling for profit, they encountered
difficulties. “The hardest part starting out is trying to find the money to do it, especially if you don’t have the upfront capital,” Julius explains. They overcame this by using hard money lenders, but the banks had limits. The couple had to come up with the rest. It was a rough ride for a while, then life dealt them an exciting opportunity. They encountered investors wanting to develop a residential subdivision. Currently, they are under construction of their second home and have plans to build 15 more! Elite Real Estate Services was born in 2014. The couple started growing their company by approaching friends with influence but also expanded into commercial real estate. They designed Elite as a one-stop-shop to build and sell homes and offer renovations and remodeling. On the building services side, they focused on sales, commercial, and residential property management. They quickly sponsored seven Realtors® for both buyers’ agents and sellers’ agents. The brokerage was turning into something much bigger. Jami’s dream of doing something completely new in real estate held firm but she discovered that her desired audience (millennials) demanded a
08 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
completely different approach. She and Julius needed to change their marketing or the business would flounder. The couple shifted to modern marketing techniques tailored to different audiences. This posed a unique challenge for them both. “It’s knowing the demographics, where they are, and how to market to them,” Jami says. For example, millennials prefer communication via text message, although Jami has spotted a shift as new technologies like video messaging proliferate. She recently held an open house in New York entirely via FaceTime with clients committing to buy without even visiting the property in person. The Bertrands take advantage of their complementary skills in every way. Jami spends her time out in the field. She recruits and trains their agents and has sponsored some of the Champions School of Real Estate’s classes to recruit talent. She delegates new listings to their agents, sending them out to research properties, and ensure there are no surprises when showing houses to clients. As Jami says, “It still takes more work than just the securing of a listing. We
still have to go to the properties. It’s not whether you did your research or not. There are certain things the customer is not able to see on MLS. So, I go and see what information they missed. I do my homework and my research in that area. It’s more than just looking on the Internet for a property. I still have to show the home and get inspections done. The house has to be appraised. There are other aspects involved in selling a house.” Julius focuses on the back end. He does all the books, commissions, disbursements, and balance statements, playing to his strength of an analytical mind. He has also taken on their social media marketing. The move into construction has become the couple’s main focus. They still offer residential and property management services but are currently building 15 homes in the Chasewood area, which requires an enormous amount of time and energy. Averaging 1,600 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a twocar garage, the properties in Chasewood vary in specification and price. Some are everyday single family homes, others need customizations, and some include additions such as a two-story deck. They are all built on contract, something Jami recommends as it is safer than speculation. The Bertrands have also shifted focus to a broader market, including baby boomers. Boomers know what they want and are far easier to communicate to than millennials. Often, they have already done their research, so they are already in the market to buy. And Jami knows the market inside-out, “They are not looking for aesthetics. They are looking for structure, mechanics, craftsmanship, and energy efficiency.” Like any good agency, Elite has access to specialist attorneys for everything from paperwork to protection. Attorneys prepare and review documents relat-
ing to sale agreements, mortgages, and transfers, but are also available in case of disputes. Although Julius and Jami have not had to use their attorneys for mediation, Jami understands the need for legal assistance on both sides of any property deal. “You can’t or wouldn’t go to court without an attorney,” she says. “You need someone to go to bat for you. You need someone to protect you. You need someone who knows the real estate laws, which are always changing. I can’t see that I would buy a house with no one to represent me or to protect me, especially if we didn’t have any knowledge of how to read contracts or what to look for.” Jami emphasizes the importance of discipline and time management for any Realtor® who wants to build a brokerage. She credits Julius for instilling this in the company. “Julius is very good with numbers and analyzes everything. He is very disciplined. He is also willing to tell me what I need to do to be a better agent and construction manager.” Jami also stresses hard work and knowing your “why” as critical in building a successful brokerage. “What you put in is what you get out. If you put 50 percent in, you are going to get 50 percent out. Real estate is not a nine-to-five job. It’s an all-day job. You have to go out and market yourself. You have to be dedicated to the job. You also have to know your ‘why’. Why are you doing it? Because if you don’t have a strong enough ‘why,’ it is going to get boring, really fast.” “You need to be prepared for ‘no.’ You need to be prepared for family and friends not supporting you. That is very, very common,” adds Jami. “Most people think that they have a huge family and lots of friends expecting to sell so many homes. That is not true. Family and friends typically don’t use you. That is definitely something you have to be ready for because it can be hurtful.”
Despite being a big dreamer, Jami is honest about the reality of real estate. Some who get into property see quick rewards, but their results depend on the market and their resources. Fast returns are the exception rather than the norm, so anyone who thinks they will make money quickly needs to be realistic. This is a sentiment shared by Julius, who emphasizes the importance of hard work. “Plan on working six months to a year before you start making money,” says Julius. “If you work towards it and work hard, you will see your first deal.” Jami admits that she, too, expected to make money quickly. “When I first got my license I thought I would be leasing million-dollar homes. I did. I thought I was going to be in River Oaks. It can be discouraging when that doesn’t happen. But in the back of my head, I kind of knew. It is all about who you know and building relationships, and you don’t build relationships in a day.” As Jami and Julius look to the future, they’re poised for further success, helped by their emphasis on customer service and always being accessible. “We put 100 percent into everything we do for our clients,” explains Jami. “We are hands-on. We are 24/7. We are always available to you. We make ourselves accessible. We know it’s hard to get Realtors® on the phone nowadays.” Future plans include establishing Elite as “the builder,” offering custom homes. “We are not going to be production builders where you only have a certain amount of plans to choose from,” Jami explains. “Our homes are going to be custom homes and we do have an architect on board to design your home.” They are busy setting everything up. “Right now we are waiting to hear back from the Secretary of State to have everything legalized and finalized,” adds Julius. The Bertrands believe in having a bal[ JUNE 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 09
COVER STORY Jami and Julius believe in training and motivation and it is always fun! Photo by Gwen Juarez
ance between work and family. Married for three years, Jami and Julius have three beautiful children who keep them quite busy. The oldest is a 16-month-old daughter plus they have 2-month-old fraternal twins, one boy and one girl. In the evenings, Jami and Julius relax by spending time with their children and eating out, where Jami satisfies her craving for crawfish. Looking back, it has certainly been a long journey. Moving to Houston was a life-changing decision for Jami, but it was worth it. It proved to be a choice that not only changed her life but also Julius’s life forever. In the pursuit of Jami’s dream, the Bertrands found the perfect spouse and business partner within each other. Together Julius and Jami are a powerful duo who complement each other to a T. With Jami’s spirit to dream and Julius’s analytical skills, combined with hard work, they have overcome many challenges throughout their fruitful entrepreneurial journey. They have found capital when lenders set limits and have created fresh strategies to appeal to new markets. Ultimately, Jami and Julius have built great success in the form of Elite Real Estate Services. Their future growth plans and powerful combination of complementary skills mean they’re set to continue building on their success long into the future. 10 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
Julius and Jami’s Best Words of Wisdom 1. Believe in God, dream big, and work hard. 2. Do not expect to make money quickly. Fast returns are the exception to the rule. 3. Be willing to work hard for at least six months on marketing and networking to make your first sale. 4. Real estate is not a nine-to-five job; it is an all-day job. You have to be dedicated. 5. Whether you are starting a real estate business or any business, know your “why”. If you do not have a strong enough why, it will get boring, really fast. 6. Be prepared for your family and friends not supporting you. It can be quite hurtful. 7. You need upfront capital to stay afloat until your first transaction and to pay recurring brokers’ fees. 8. When thinking of a new business idea, consider all alternative outcomes so that you are prepared. 9. Plan well. 10. Do your research. 11. Building relationships is important but takes time; so be patient.
Put Joy First BY RITA SANTAMARIA
he happiest people are those who feel charged about what they do, where they live and the people around them. What is essential in taking charge of loving your career or the day to day living with happiness is making time for things you adore. It is not only nurturing but it adds meaning to life because it reminds us why it’s fun to be on this planet.
Write down one positive aspect of your life every day. A positive can be finishing the painting of your garage, a home improvement project as well as your spouse served you coffee this morning.
Happiness move #1: Put your passions on paper.
Here is how this Happiness #3 works:
Write down everything you love or feel passionate about until time is up. (4 min.) Such as: entertaining with friends, wine tasting, golf, travel, time with children/grandchildren Now, find time in the next 24 hrs. to enjoy one thing from the list. Defining your core values is important. If there are core values that help you handle day to day interactions with people, and make you less vulnerable to being displeased then incorporate this value into each day. For example, if my core values involved loyalty, trustworthiness, health, humor, then I need to find ways to practice these values to fulfill joy.
Happiness move #2: Writing down waysto practice your core values.
If I value loyalty, then I need to call a long time friend and say hello. If I know that being healthy is important to me then on my calendar I need to pencil in nutritious meals, exercise time. Here is a short list of qualities that you might want to decide are part of your core values which are from Dan Baker, Ph.D., author of What Happy People Know: Adventure Empathy Kindness Art Faithfulness Love Boldness Fitness Loyalty Cheerfulness Health Pleasure Cleanliness Honesty Simplicity Charity Humility Thrifty Courage Humor Trustworthiness Dependability Intelligence Wealth Create an appreciation journal. It is difficult to get caught up in depression, fear or anxiousness when you are caught up in positives. 12 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
Write down one positive aspect of your life every day. A positive can be finishing the painting of your garage, a home improvement project as well as your spouse served you coffee this morning. To help with this diary you can write in your daily calendar these questions per day to get you going with the training of your brain to notice what’fs going well in your life rather than what’fs going poorly. Monday: What did I enjoy most about my day? Tuesday: How did someone enrich my life today? Wednesday: What gave me peace of mind today? How? Thursday: How did I help someone today? Friday: How did I invest in my future today? Saturday: When were you at your best this week? What were you doing? What time of day was it? Sunday: What am I looking forward to in the week ahead? Why? Using these daily brain changing notes you can discover and enjoy the smaller joys in life that sometimes get passed over as just another day. If we slow down and savor them, they should start multiplying and we will become more conscience of the daily joys of appreciation. Appreciation is the highest form of joy according to Susan Perry, Ph.D, author of Loving in Flow. To keep our joy rolling beyond the last episode of American Idol, we need activities that require effort, skill and concentration says author of Good Business, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D.
Happiness move #4: raise the quality of downtime.
Take a few minutes and jot down alternative ways of engaging in skills that will give deeper satisfaction or help you learn something new.
Examples of this exercise would be:
• Instead of watching tv, I will do the crossword puzzle in todays paper. • Instead of sitting on the couch and reading, I will take a bike ride. • Instead of eating a bowl of ice cream, I will learn how to make a new desert recipe out of one of my many cookbooks. • Instead of watching a movie, I will read the book the movie was based on. • Instead of playing solitaire on my computer, I will ask friends over to play cards. • Instead of going shopping for new clothes, I will clean out my closets and organize them. Replace at least one of these monotonous habits per week with a more challenging, satisfying activity. You will not only feel more relaxed but smarter too. According to a study from Ann Arbor Michigan people who brood about a failure are more likely for little disappointments
which keep them in a state of depression or moodiness. So instead of replaying the flops or aggravations and blaming yourself, change your self talk about yourself into positive statements that are constructive.
The practice of this is Happiness #5:
Instead of self talk that goes this direction, Gee, I should have asked them if they were qualified for this price range. What an idiot I am. Change your self talk to: next time before I take anyone in my car I am going to use my good sense, and find out who qualified them, when they were qualified, what price range they are qualified for.
Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Ft. Worth and On-line Campus. For more information www.ChampionsSchool.com
Pave and Refine the Company Way,
BY HANK MOORE CORPORATE STRATEGIST™
was at a service counter, and the clerk was bad-mouthing the customers. “I don’t know what their problem is,” he declared. “Every one of them has a problem today.” He then pointed to others standing in line, not yet having been served. He added that “every one of them has a problem.” No, he has the problem and is projecting it on the paying customers. Each clerk at that company makes their personal behaviors the norms at their desks, and this is one of the largest organizations in America. As customers, we smile and give positive strokes to those serving us. When you say to a clerk what a beautiful day it is, the lazy ones will reply, “Yes, I can hardly wait to get out of here and enjoy it.” The better response would be: “It is a glorious day because customers like you choose to visit us.” Customer service must be constantly addressed and improved. Above that, Customer Focused Management needs to be implemented, meaning that all actions and decisions should be tied to customer outcomes. Above that, corporate cultures need to be fine-tuned, in order to avoid situations where customers are put on the defensive or made angry. Corporate cultures are rarely nurtured. They evolve, meander and veer off course. Biggest cause of the problem is where individuals bring certain demeanors and behaviors to the company, and these traits often erode the positive and pro-active actions.
Warning signs for sluggish corporate cultures: • •
Where people take on negative attitudes. Where employees spend too much time on what is best for them, instead of the customers. • Where mid-managers buy the hype of the 14 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
• • • • • • • •
marketing slogans but stonewall the progress that would enable the company to live up to its claims. A company’s way is built, nurtured, recognized and implemented. In steering company cultures back on course, I recommend several steps in the process: Discourage street talk, slang and trite phrases out of the mouths of your staff when interfacing with customers. Write your company’s own service lines. Do not harass customers with tired questions like “are you finding everything.” Instead thank them more often and early in the transactions. Declare personal cell phones, on-line shopping and the like to be off-limits in locations where customers are. They cannot see distracted employees, nor should your company tolerate it. Hold training about personal demeanor. Show individuals how they embody the whole of the organization. Cut the weeds who will bring down the standards of the company and cast doubts on your team. Celebrate great customer outcomes. Honor the employees, who in turn honor the organization. Since 92% of all problems in companies stem from poor management decisions, do a better job of training managers to be leaders. Always recognize the Big Picture aspect to all business decisions. Each one influences the other and the whole of the enterprise. Always remember and trust that the customer is king.
Everything we are in business stems from what we’ve been taught or not taught to date. A career is all about devoting resources to amplifying talents and abilities, with relevancy toward a viable end result.
Business evolution is an amalgamation of thoughts, technologies, approaches and commitment of the people, asking such insightful questions as: 1. What would you like for you and your organization to become? 2. How important is it to build an organization well, rather than constantly spend time in managing conflict? 3. Who are the customers? 4. Do successful corporations operate without a strategy-vision? 5. Do you and your organization presently have a strategy-vision? 6. Are businesses really looking for creative ideas? Why? 7. If no change occurs, is the research and self-reflection worth anything?
Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives, careers and Body of Work. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.
Contact information for Hank Moore. Website: http://www.hankmoore.com. Email: email@example.com. Phone: 346-777-1818. Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations, including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. His Legends books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Customer service must be constantly addressed and improved. Above that, Customer Focused Management needs to be implemented, meaning that all actions and decisions should be tied to customer outcomes.
Victory Isn’t for
Everyone BY ARCHIBALD C ELLIOTT
I built my talent on the shoulders of someone else’s talent”- Michael Jordan.
One of the most important things when looking for success in anything is to find someone you can look up to. Someone who might have done what you’re trying to do or is an inspiration in some way, shape, or form. Michael Jordan as well as anyone who has ever been successful at anything will tell you that they drew inspiration from somewhere outside themselves. This inspiration doesn’t have to mean that you emulate or try to copy someone. In fact, your inspiration for success could be from someone that has accomplished something in a completely different field. Bruce Lee changed martial arts, he would look to other individuals and forms of martial arts that led him to be so creative and revolutionary. I will always look to others for inspiration while trying to achieve personal accomplishments. It’s evident in the sports I compete in, jobs I’ve had, and the friends I associate with. It’s also evident in how I train. Primarily my training regimens are benchmarked from top athletes in various sports. From boxing and MMA, to football, basketball, and soccer, the idea is to highlight a small portion of what it takes to get to that elite level in hopes of continuing to inspire others as well as myself. I’ve had the privilege of not only training at high levels but also being around those who do. Being that close to the action, you adapt the mentality of what it takes. You then realize that victory isn’t for everyone. Sun Tzu in his infamous
Primarily my training regimens are benchmarked from top athletes in various sports. From boxing and MMA, to football, basketball, and soccer, the idea is to highlight a small portion of what it takes to get to that elite level in hopes of continuing to inspire others as well as myself. Art of War put it best when he said “Victory is reserved for those willing to pay the price”. That price is simply too high for some people.
I’ve compiled a list.
1. Imperfect action. No individual, spends too much time worrying about insignificant details. Scientific methods states for anything important to start, begin imperfectly and work towards perfecting it versus waiting till the time is just right. The time will never be just right for anything. You can read all you want to about it, but I promise you that you’ll be ahead of the game if you take a basic understanding and put it to use rather than sitting on an idea. I’m guilty of this. However, I’ve learned that if I just get started, even if it’s not perfect, I can correct actions along the way. Even if I’m wrong, I’ve gained experience that can’t be taught in books. 2. Patience. This one gets everyone. It happens when you watch or see something or someone that inspires you to begin. Maybe it’s a sports figure or mov-
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ie, whatever it is, it makes say “I’m going to do that”. Then you start doing it and you start to realize after a few days that it sucks. People that reach the highest levels of anything realize and appreciate the process. They understand that nothing happens overnight and that the “grind” is the best part of the process. 3. Intensity. If you were to see how some of the top Olympic or sport athletes train, it would blow your mind. Just the thought of 2 to 3 training sessions a day that last at least 2 hours a piece is hard for some people to wrap their minds around. Pushing yourself to the apex takes a commitment and desire that most will never understand. However, if you’re going to pay the price for victory, get used to pushing yourself to the limit. Find comfort in the discomfort. 4. Focus. Training is like being on a hill with a pair of skates. If you aren’t going forward, you’re going backwards and fast. When you’re competing at the highest levels of sport or business, there is no off season. Everything you do revolves around the goals you place for yourself. This isn’t to say you can’t take breaks every now and then, you must allow time for mental and physical rest. With clear understanding it’s to make you better, not a license to do whatever you want.
Archibald C Elliott is Founder of Symmetry Fitness (404)307-3421 www.acefitbody.net
Take Advantage of
BY FOUR-TIME OLYMPIAN RUBEN GONZALEZ
pportunity is everywhere. Just keep your eyes open and focus on finding it. Once you spot an opportunity, if you decide you are willing to do whatever it takes, it’s only a matter of time before you get what
In November 1987, we had just arrived at the luge track in St. Moritz, Switzerland. We were about to begin training and qualifying for the World Cup Race that weekend. The International Luge World Cup Circuit is like a traveling circus. Every week, you see the same group of athletes at a different track. We typically travel on Mondays; train and qualify, Tuesday through Friday; race on the weekends; then travel to the next track. As soon as we got to the St. Moritz track, I noticed something was different. There were only three sleds signed up in the doubles competition. Doubles luge is a wild sport consisting of two athletes lying on the same sled. They both steer, but only the top man can see. The top man gives body signals to the bottom man to tell him when to steer. It takes years to develop the trust, communication skills, and teamwork required to do well in doubles. I’d never done it. I’m a singles luge racer. But only three sleds! What an opportunity! I ran to my best luge buddy, Pablo Garcia of Spain, and excitedly told him, “This is our chance! We’ll never have another opportunity like this! We have to find a doubles sled and race. If one of those other three sleds crashes, we’ll have a World Cup Medal!”
Pablo’s no dummy. He saw the opportunity right away. But we still had to talk Coach into letting us race. We told him the opportunity was too good to pass up. It was even worth the risk of injury. Coach said, “If you can find a doubles sled in this town, you’ve got my blessing. Finding a doubles sled in St. Moritz was going to be a real challenge. Even though they have a track, St. Moritz is not a big luge town. They love bobsled and skeleton (head-first luge), but hardly anyone in St. Moritz does the luge. That didn’t matter to us. We were determined to do whatever it took to make it happen. I spent two days knocking on doors all around the town asking the locals if they had a doubles sled we could borrow. I was cold-calling in a foreign country – in a town that does not like lugers! They speak German in St. Moritz. I don’t. But it didn’t matter. When you want something bad enough, the facts don’t count. You just do it. I knocked on the doors, regurgitated a German phrase I had memorized – “Haben sie ein doppelsitzer rennrodeln schlitten fur die weltcup renn?” and hoped they nodded! Eventually, I found a man who had a twenty year-old rusted out sled in his shed. He agreed to let us borrow it. We spent the next two days getting that antique sled race-ready. On race day, everyone came out to see Pablo and I kill ourselves trying to do doubles. We almost did! We were on the verge of crashing the whole way down. But we finished the race, placed fourth, and actually received a World Cup Medal (we’d never even seen a 4th place medal
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Pablo’s no dummy. He saw the opportunity right away. But we still had to talk Coach into letting us race. We told him the opportunity was too good to pass up. It was even worth the risk of injury. before, they usually only award medals to the top three finishers), got out pictures in the paper, and best of all, we earned so many World Cup Points for coming in fourth, that by season’s end, we had a world ranking of 14th in the doubles!!! The following week, the word that Pablo and I had taken fourth in the World Cup spread like wildfire in the luge circuit. Some of the athletes who had not shown up in St. Moritz heard about what we had done, but passed off our victory saying, “we were lucky.” Pablo and I explained to them that “luck had nothing to do with it.” We simply had seen an opportunity, and made a decision to do whatever it took to win, and in the end, won! We made our own luck. I guarantee you that if you will develop that attitude – the attitude that you will go for it and give it your all, your life will be a lot more fun. People will be amazed at the things you accomplish. Jump and the net will appear. It really will! Ruben Gonzalez is an award-winning keynote speaker and the author of the critically acclaimed book, “The Courage to Succeed.” His experiences as a three-time Olympian and as the owner of two businesses give him a unique perspective on how to conquer the corporate struggles of today. For his free 10-Part Success eCourse, visit www.StartWinningMore.com or contact him at 832-689-8282.
When You Need
to Make a Sale, Do This… BY JONATHAN SPRINKLES
s I travel from city to city, I meet a new set of people every week. After every presentation, there are always groups of people who approach me. Some have questions, some ask how they can hire me to coach them, and some just want a selfie for them to post online.
one! He now owns several businesses and is a multi-millionaire. Imagine how foolish I would have looked had I pre-judged him and blew him off. Instead, I focused on building rapport with him and piquing his interest. Now, who knows what new doors this relationship will open?
Then the moment of truth happens…
When you meet someone for the first time, put yourself in the Facebook frame of mind. Ask yourself, how can I get him to remember me 24 to 48 hours after my initial impression? Whether you really do become social media contacts or not doesn’t matter. The point is, you have to be unique or you will be instantly forgotten as soon as your conversation ends.
When I check my social media pages later that evening, I see new friend requests. This is where it gets interesting. There are some people I remember meeting earlier that evening, and there are others who I swear I’ve never seen before in my life.
One group was able to master the art of the first impression. The other group got tossed into the mental dumpster pile that is filled with random information I’d rather forget. This is an example of what happens to you on the subconscious level with every new person you meet. Based on how you “set the hook” in their mind, you are either going to be filed or forgotten based on their initial feeling about you. This is critical fork in the road at which most entrepreneurs crash and burn. Too often, we prejudge people and the potential of the relationship. We become unintentional about making our brand stick when we don’t see a direct benefit they can bring to our business. If we’re being honest, we have all at some point blown people off based on face value. This is the wrong mindset. You can’t take for granted that superficial assumptions will yield an accurate analysis of people’s value to us. Remember this—You don’t know who they know. And more importantly—You don’t know who they are going to know! Here is a perfect example: I once sat next to a loud-talking gentleman on an airplane who had had a few drinks in him and confessed to only having a high school education. He started off working at Popeye’s Chicken…then he bought
Here are some of my best secrets for standing out in a crowd:
1. Associate a mental picture with your name – “Hi, I’m Jonathan Sprinkles…like what you put on cupcakes.” 2. Ask for special treatment – “When you take your stack of business cards out of your pocket this evening, what would it take for you to remember mine specifically?” 3. Always follow up – “Hey, I know you’re meeting a lot of people today. Can I get your information so I can send a thank you note to you?” (FYI—This is a guaranteed winner but NOBODY does this!) W. Clement Stone said, “Little hinges swing big doors.” These seemingly insignificant steps will instantly separate you from the pack and create opportunities to network with powerful people who can give you the hook up. Normal is boring. Be fun. Be unique. Be someone worth remembering. Jonathan Sprinkles, known as “Your Connection Coach,” is the author of 13 books (two-time international bestseller), television personality, host of The Jonathan Sprinkles Show on weekly radio, and an award-winning keynote speaker. He is the host of Presentation Power, an event for business owners who want to use the Power of Connection™ to boost their brand, build trust, and close more business. Get a $100 MBE Magazine discount at www. GetPresentationPower.com. Use Promo Code: MBEMAG for your discount. [ JUNE 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 19
The Entrepreneurial Benefits ST
of The 21 Century
BY SONIA CLAYTON
t used to be a time when starting a After 2006 companies company was challenging and deperformed much better and manding. However, with the latest even stayed around for the technologies, it is becoming easier and rather affordable. Not only second wave of founding. that, but the fact the small compa- Those on the study mentioned nies are now relying on cloud techabove, have been benefiting nologies gives venture capitalists a by the collaboration sense of control over what they are doefforts company’s such ing with a particular start up. Therefore, more startups are getting the necesas Amazon Cloud. sary funds and moving forward. Having said that, entrepreneurs are in urgent ation within Amazon Cloud because it and constant need to prove themselves meant those small businesses were takquickly because much is expected from ing advantage of the collaborative and supportive environment provided by the them. Cloud Solution. Data from Harvard Business School Also, the Harvard researchers found (HBS) demonstrate that venture capital firms, over the last decade, have seeded that the number of startups receiving more new ventures than before, even first-round funding increased substanwith less upfront investment of time and tially between 2006, when AWS was inmoney. According to entrepreneurial fi- troduced, and 2010, especially for those nance professor at HBS, Ramana Nanda, firms that could most take advantage of who has been researching if this strategy cloud services. For the control group of has paid off for investors. Nanda’s works companies in industries such as aeroCost of Experimentation and the Evo- space and medical devices, first-round lution of Venture Capital shed light on funding increased from 350 to 450 firms, a rise of 30 percent. But for startups in this topic. the software and media industries that The researchers working in Nanda’s could make use of AWS, funding inteam use the example of the phenome- creased from 375 to 700 firms, a nearly non of Amazon Web Services, that pro- 100 percent rise. vides startups with affordable rent servAfter 2006 companies performed er space and development tools in the cloud, allowing small businesses to scale much better and even stayed around for up as needed rather than purchasing the second wave of founding. Those on their own expensive hardware and soft- the study mentioned above, have been benefiting by the collaboration efforts ware and maintaining them in house. company’s such as Amazon Cloud. So, an In contrast with operations starting entrepreneur can start up rather quick in 2006, Nanda and his colleagues could and it can also close down very quick. see how Venture Capitalist changed their So definitely, there is value added on this strategies to benefit those startups oper- proposition.
20 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
Professor Nanda cites another case: Airbnb, a company that rents just about any space for your ideal vacation and in your ideal location. He says: “In the past a company like this would have been rejected from venture capital consideration because of the unpredictability and uncertainty of this type of business.” This new collaboration format also reduces the amount of coaching and advising companies receive from their investors. Technology has evolved so rapidly in recent years that has come to touch dramatically just about every industry “. We shall see more and more technical interventions in super computing, analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, virtual reality, combined with crowd sourcing strategies bringing more advances and advantages to the new economy. But as the world turns it is expected that the cost per startups will only get lower, and the number of startups that become success can only increase. This is definitely the time to be an Entrepreneur and I am loving it! References  Nanda, Ramana, Michael Ewens, and Mathew Kropf. Cost of Experimentation and the Evolution of Venture Capital. Cambridge, MA, Harvard Business School, 2017. Accessed 11 May 2017. Sonia Clayton is the President & CEO of Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC (www.vip-global.com) a Houston based corporation specializing in Information Systems Implementations, Training, Organizational Change Management and Learning Ecosystems. Sonia is also an entrepreneur and philanthropist and a member of several higher education and community boards to include the information systems advisory board of the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. Sonia is also a Harvard Business School Certified Negotiator and a Stanford University Latino Entrepreneur Graduate. firstname.lastname@example.org (713) 560-5356
Keeping Data Safe:
4 Reasons Why Small Businesses Are Converting to the Cloud
BY TOM ANDRULIS, PRESIDENT OF INTELLIGENT TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS
ithin the next three years, nearly 80 percent of small businesses will be fully adapted to cloud computing, according to a study by Intuit. Why are so many small businesses now making the leap to the cloud – and is it right for your business? Cloud computing promises to change the way small businesses operate, and it has been steadily gaining in popularity. There are four main reasons why.
1. Maximum Accessibility
Perhaps the biggest advantage of moving to the cloud is accessibility. Cloud computing gives you the ability to access information and software from any device: desktop, laptop, or mobile. The ability to work anywhere is particularly attractive to businesses with remote offices. Having one centralized location for all of your data gives the entire organization the ability to collaborate instantaneously. That alone can create significant gains in efficiency.
2. Everything Is Backed Up
When your data is stored at your local office, you run the risk of losing it. Fire, flood, theft, even a cup of coffee accidentally spilled on the server – any of those events could prove catastrophic to your data. A simple power outage or internet outage can bring your business to a standstill. When you convert to the cloud, those risks disappear. You don’t have to worry
about backing up your data anymore, on-site or off-site. That’s handled by the cloud hosting provider.
3. Continuous Updates
Applications in the cloud are typically updated on a more frequent cycle than software installed on a local PC. In many cases, cloud software is continually updated. That saves you the hassle of tracking and updating your software on a regular basis, and it also adds an extra element of safety. Cloud versions of enterprise software are delivered primarily through a browser and can offer even more functionality than the desktop versions installed locally. For example, the current version of Office 365 is now more feature-rich than the desktop application. That gives your business the power to do more.
4. Greater Data Security
One of the biggest misconceptions about the cloud is that it automatically makes your data more secure. While it’s true in many cases, it ultimately depends on how your information is stored. Just using a brandname host doesn’t automatically make your data safer. The best way to secure your data in the cloud is to pay attention to security best practices: establish a password policy, utilize encryption, set up two-factor authentication and separate security rights according to job function. That’s important for any business, but it’s doubly true when your information is stored online.
Is the Cloud Right for Your Business?
Cloud computing can offer significant efficiencies to any small business: safer data, less maintenance, greater accessibility, and more. But moving into the cloud can be complicated, and in some cases expensive. Before making the decision to jump to the cloud, compare it point-bypoint with your current setup. Talk to several cloud providers about how to migrate your data, and compare the ongoing cost. Before signing with any provider, ask these questions:
Before making the decision to jump to the cloud, compare it point-bypoint with your current setup.
1. Where does the cloud provider store backups? 2. Can I have my own local backup? 3. What sort of security safeguards are in place? 4. What happens to my data if the data center or connection goes down? 5. What happens if the cloud provider goes out of business? 6. If I decide to switch to another provider, how easy is it to migrate to a new service? How much will it cost? The cloud provider’s answers will help you weigh all the options and decide whether the cloud is the right move for your business. Tom Andrulis is the President of Intelligent Technical Solutions. For more information please call 702-9031387 or visit https://www.itsasap.com/. You may also email Tom directly at email@example.com. [ JUNE 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 21
Giving Business Referrals
BY GAIL STOLZENBURG
hy would we talk about giving referrals instead of getting referrals? Let’s start with your philosophy of networking. Most people are taught to sell by contacting, presenting, and closing, and it is still the most misused approach being tried today. The people you talk with are more likely to give you referrals if they see you are interested in helping them. This philosphy goes back before Dale Carnegie’s “How to Make Friends and Influence People”, but it is a paradigm shift for many people. Brian Tracy used to talk about the Top Closing Techniques to make the sale. Today he talks about building trust and rapport. It’s called the Law of Reciprocity, Givers Gain®, Servant Leadership, Pay It Forward, Do Unto Others, Tit for Tat, Giving before Receiving or Farming instead of Hunting. So if we buy into this philosopy of giving first, how do we accomplish it? Bob Burg has just been honored as one of the top 200 influencers in the world based on his work using his “The Go-Giver” book. In his book he talks about people’s belief that it would be slower to begin by giving a referral than by just doing an excellent job of presenting their product or service. Bob proves that belief has a false premise.
Giving referrals is really a multi-step process:
1. Determine their need: Most people are looking for a way to increase income or to solve a problem. Although you may presume they are looking for prospective
customers or clients, it may be they are looking for a resource.This means you need to become a specialist in asking the right questions. 2. Find out what a good referral is for them: They may want to find a specific individual, they may want a group introduction, they many be interested in a book or article, or they may just need a link to some information. Never just give them a “lead”. They are looking for quality referrals. Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of the world’s largest business referral organization, BNI, says, “A referral is the opportunity to do business with someone who is in the market to buy your product or service. There is no guarantee but it opens doors to discuss business”. 3. Choose where to find a referral for them: Sometimes we call that place their “Target Market”. It may be your best option is to refer them to a “Referrer of Referrals”. In other words, rather than just a person, it is a person, who is a center of influence for dozens of people who meet their “good referral” criteria. 4. Review your sources: Start with people you know, like, and trust. Remember if the result is good or bad, either way it is a reflection on you. Begin with your networking groups, your business associates, and then your friends on social media. 5. Select the method for giving a referral: Face to face is always best so you can see their reaction, but referrals can also be done by phone or email. 6. Connect them with the referral: There are many benefits from arrang-
22 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JUNE 2017 ]
ing a meeting between the person you are speaking with and the person you are referring to them. Giving someone the name or a referral or handing them someone’s business card can have a success rate of 50%, but it you make the introduction in person or in a 3-way conversation and edify the person you are referring, the success rate can be as much as 80%. During the referral process, always be interested rather than interesting. Remember, you never “sell” someone anything, they “buy” something. All you can do is add value. And, never give a referral with the expectation of receiving a referral in return. By implementing the Law of Reciprocity, you become the “Go To Guy” and increase your respect in the community. And, this Law of Reciprocity is closely coorelated with others laws such as influence, receptivity, compensation, authenticity, and value. The interesting thing is that many times giving a qualiity referral may fail to benefit your business directly, however I can assure you the recipient will remember it and tell others about how you made them feel. In the next issue, we will discuss “How to Get a Good Referral”. Your Network is Your Wealth! Gail “The Connector” Stolzenburg Author of CONNECTIONS: Contact to Clients Gail@GailStolzenburg.com 281 493 1955 www.GailStolzenburg.com
June 2017 BY CHRISTI RUIZ
rand Fire Trine (luck) of Saturn in Sagittarius, with Eris and Uranus in Aries, and the North Node in Leo will be from June 1 to July 1st. This will inspire you to action, independence, spontaneity, courage and bold initiatives in your business and a great time for fresh starts. Mars then Ceres in Gemini at the start and end of June form seven sextiles (growth) and two oppositions (separations) to Saturn in a kite pattern. This will infuse tempers that can fly off the handle, maintain control. These aspects create harsh criticism toward the incompetence of people in roles of authority. A quincunx (adjustments) of Jupiter in Libra and Neptune in Pisces from June 3rd to the 30th, this will give you a double dose of lunar energy. All things will recycle and come out with a better outcome at the end. You will see a new way of doing business. Jupiter will go direct on the 9th until March 8th of 2018. This will allow for the natural flow of opportunity and abundance to all worldwide. Neptune retrograde (inner truth) from the 16th until the 22nd of November, this will allow you to gain access to information in our subconscious mind. Full Moon in Sagittarius on the 9th will influence our faith, beliefs, and spiritual traditions. This will influence you to do the right thing in business.
New Moon on the 23rd will be a great time to set our intentions in all that we do. This will bring great opportunities with financial benefits. Aries March 21st to April 20th – Full Moon will be lucky in terms of interactions with oth-
er people and what they can bring to you. New Moon is the time to focus on home and family to create a good foundation that will have a positive impact on your business. Avoid being carless with your words. Taurus April 21st to May 21st – Full Moon will bring monetary matters to a climax. New Moon will be in your zone of knowledge, information, ideas and communications. Your emotions may get in your way maintain self control. Avoid unnecessary expenditures. Gemini May 22 to June 21 – Full Moon may stir up events in legal matters, and other dealings and proceed with caution. New Moon will have you focusing your attention on earnings, savings, and spending. You will see an upsurge in financial activity. Avoid pushing too hard to get ahead. Cancer June 22nd to July 22nd – Full Moon is the time for mental and physical health, do things that will take your mind off of worries. Stick to a regular business routine for best results. New Moon is the time to seed your emotional intentions. Avoid over magnifying your troubles. Leo July 23rd to August 22nd – Full Moon will leave you feeling on unstable ground or foundation. Make the changes that are needed in your business to secure your income. New Moon is the time to focus on completing the tasks that are top priority, Avoid trusting too much on just luck. Virgo August 23rd to September 23rd – Full Moon will bring a work dilemma to an urgent climax. Jupiter is in retrograde (inner truth) a time that money issues may stall. New Moon will be in your social zone suggesting emotional attachments with friends and associates will [ JUNE 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 23
enhance your business relationships for the future. This is the time to plant seeds for your future finances. Do not nourish your inferiority complex.
continue to grow. Avoid overreaching credit or prestige. Libra September 24th to October 23rd – Full Moon hard choices must be made. Don’t let anxiety or negativity get in the way. New Moon will highlight your dealings with the higher-ups. Avoid becoming irritable and impatient, you will lose financially.
Aquarius January 21 to February 19th – Full Moon will have your focusing on making choices and assuming responsibilities. This influence may drain your pocket book. New Moon will bring many emotions about the past, do not dwell upon it too much and make plans for the future of your business.
Scorpio October 24 to November 22 – Full Moon will set off recent money matters, keep your calm things can be worked out. New Moon will have you planting new seeds and new paths for your business. Avoid being too possessive and secretive.
Pisces February 20th to March 20th – Full Moon will bring good influences for great partnerships, alliances, and collaborations. New Moon will bring the sweetness out of your personality, use it to obtain financial favor. Be careful of picking the wrong time for showdowns. Make new changes in the everyday base operations of your business.
Sagittarius November 23 to December 21st – Full Moon will have you focusing on relationships and making decisions that will benefit you financially. New Moon will accent money dealings. It’s a good time to review partnerships, finances, and investments to secure future finances.
Love & Light, Christi Ruiz Business and Spiritual Life Coach firstname.lastname@example.org O: 713-773-0333 C: 281-904-2658 www.christiruiz.com
JUNE 2017 EDITION HOUSTON
Capricorn December 22nd to January 20th – Full Moon will have you focusing on creating happy new business alliances. New Moon will
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INSIDE BACK COVER
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June 2017 / Houston